New Delhi - Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government has been creating "instrumentalities" like providing agricultural inputs at lower cost and making cheap credit available to farmers so as to double their income.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Forum here, Jaitley said the government is trying to get farmers their dues and to improve infrastructure like roads, irrigation, electrification, housing and sanitation in rural areas.
"... Making inputs available to the farmers at affordable cost with some element of state subsidy, ensuring that credit is available to farmers in large quantums and that a sizeable part of the interest is subvented by the state from its own revenues," Jaitley said at the event hosted by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
"... In an event of a crop failure the farmer gets the benefit of insurance which is subsidiesd by the state itself. These are various instrumentalities that we have been creating within the affordable limits of our budget size."
Jaitley added that increase in income and purchasing power of the farmers "is extremely" important for the government as the growth of "larger economy depends on the economic potential and power of this group..."
He also highlighted that the agriculture community is "vulnerable" world over and that different countries have devised various methodologies to support and protect their farmers through subsidies.
Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had unveiled a seven-point strategy to double the income of farmers in six years with measures to step up irrigation, provide better quality seeds and prevent post-harvest losses.
Speaking at the event, Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar noted: "India is massively pursuing digital inclusion and ensuring access to finance. We have a base of 1,000 million accounts, similar number of Aadhaar identities and mobiles, which will ensure financial inclusion coupled with farm and non-farm activities."
The forum is jointly organised by NABARD and Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA), a regional association of Asia-Pacific countries that promotes cooperation, mutual exchange and expertise in the field of rural finance.